The world is home to a shockingly small number of territorial male lions, who play a crucial role in protecting their prides and territories.
These majestic creatures are dwindling in numbers, as highlighted by wildlife filmmaker Dereck Joubert and his collaborator Beverly.
For over 30 years, they have been capturing the lives of Africa’s wild animals through film and photography.
Based in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, the Jouberts are renowned for their conservation efforts, including establishing the Big Cats Initiative in partnership with National Geographic, which aims to safeguard the remaining population of big cats worldwide.
Unfortunately, preserving these magnificent creatures is a challenging task. According to Dereck Joubert, the lion population has declined by 50 percent during the three decades of their study.
In the past 75 years alone, Africa has witnessed a staggering 90 percent decline in its lion population.
Panthera, another organization dedicated to big cat conservation, reveals that only seven countries – Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe – are home to over 1,000 lions each.
Out of the estimated 20,000 to 30,000 lions remaining in the wild, male lions account for only 12 to 15 percent.
This means that a mere 3,500 dominant male lions roam the African continent, painting a bleak picture of their survival prospects.
Each lion holds immense importance, similar to the renowned Cecil. Unfortunately, Cecil’s fate is not an isolated incident. Dereck Joubert points out that at least 24 other lions, like Cecil, have been killed while wearing tracking collars.
Hunters often claim that they specifically target old or past-breeding-age male lions. However, Joubert challenges this justification, stating that many male lions live until age 15, even breeding until their final years.
Disagreeing with the theory that lions lose their breeding capabilities at six, Joubert emphasizes that lions like Cecil still had several years of reproductive potential left.
Reflecting on his years studying these magnificent creatures, Dereck Joubert shares his admiration for male lions and their resilience.
Regardless of his admiration, Joubert emphasizes the need to protect lions for their intrinsic value and significance within the ecosystem. Male lions serve as a humbling reminder that nature surpasses human dominance, keeping our egos in check.
The Jouberts have generously shared captivating images of some of the world’s last remaining lions in Africa. These photographs capture the essence of lions, just like Cecil, and serve as a powerful call to action for their conservation.
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